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  • March 29, 2011
  • 11:48 AM

Ratting out landmines and tuberculosis

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Thanks to John Stevenson for drawing my attention to this one: Giant African Pouched Rats are trained as detectors; a good solution for low-income countries and communities. HeroRATS, as they are called, come in two "models": landmine detectors and tuberculosis detectors. Rats born in captivity (captured rats are impossible to train) are trained to sniff out landmines in historically war-ravaged zones where many landmines are laying unmapped, and using other detection or disposal tech........ Read more »

Poling, A., Weetjens, B., Cox, C., Mgode, G., Jubitana, M., Kazwala, R., Mfinanga, G., & Huis in 't Veld, D. (2010) Using Giant African Pouched Rats to Detect Tuberculosis in Human Sputum Samples: 2009 Findings. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 83(6), 1308-1310. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.2010.10-0180  

Alan Poling, Bart J. Weetjens, Christophe Cox, Negussie W. Beyene, & Andrew Sully. (2010) USING GIANT AFRICAN POUCHED RATS (CRICETOMYS GAMBIANUS) TO DETECT LANDMINES. The Psychological Record, 60(4), 715-728. info:other/

  • March 29, 2011
  • 08:01 AM

When Reason Falters, It's Age-Morphing Apps and Virtual Reality to the Rescue

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

The other day I asked for examples of practical post-rationality—changes in law or policy that happened because institutions have stopped assuming that people behave rationally. A number of people wrote in about instances of what Jon Elster calls "precommitment" or "self-binding": Giving up some ...Read More
... Read more »

  • March 29, 2011
  • 06:34 AM

New Study Asks: Can Religion Help you Fight Serious Illness?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

“Do you believe in God?” is not the sort of thing you normally expect to hear in a hospital clinic. But for a group women quietly waiting in a breast health clinic, their wait to see the doctor was interrupted by this question. However, this wasn’t an enthusiastic evangelist trying to win a new convert; [...]... Read more »

  • March 29, 2011
  • 05:32 AM

More success

by David Winter in Careers - in Theory

Do we need more sophisticated definitions of career success? Although I have got a lot of mileage out of the journal article I wrote about in my last post —  I’ve dropped snippets from it into a few talks and workshops lately — there is something very limiting about the ideas of career success used [...]... Read more »

Heslin, P. (2005) Conceptualizing and evaluating career success. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(2), 113-136. DOI: 10.1002/job.270  

  • March 29, 2011
  • 01:14 AM

We won. They lost.

by Melanie Tannenbaum in ionpsych

Let’s start off this post with an exercise in imagination. Imagine that we happen to be big fans of the same team. First, imagine that our favorite team is the underdog in a major sports competition – say, the NCAA … Continue reading →... Read more »

Cialdini, R.B., Borden, R. J., Thorne, A., Walker, M.R., Freeman, S., & Sloan, L.R. (1976) Basking in reflected glory: Three (football) field studies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34(3), 366-375. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.34.3.366  

Newman ML, Pennebaker JW, Berry DS, & Richards JM. (2003) Lying words: predicting deception from linguistic styles. Personality , 29(5), 665-75. PMID: 15272998  

  • March 28, 2011
  • 12:40 PM

In which I try to explain why "heritability" is not quite the same thing as "heritable"

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Robert Kurzban responds in the ongoing "adaptive" homophobia kerfuffle (henceforth, the O.A.H.K.) with continued confusion about how biologists identify possible adaptations and test to see whether natural selection is responsible for them. He notes that one effect of natural selection is to remove heritable variation in traits under selection, so that many traits which are probably adaptations—arguably, sometimes the best-adapted traits—actually have zero heritability.

This is true. But it........ Read more »

  • March 28, 2011
  • 12:39 PM

Does Cooperation Really Make It Happen?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Above: Jim Henson's Anything Muppets sing "Street Garden Cooperation."
What didn’t Sesame Street teach us? Working together (sometimes) makes things go easier—whether you're a part of a group of Muppets who want a community garden, or perhaps hunter-gatherers managing your existence. Humans are the only species to cooperate to the degree that we do, and this cooperation may have allowed for many other derived social traits related to group living to emerge, including generosity, sharing, t........ Read more »

Hill, K., Walker, R., Bozicevic, M., Eder, J., Headland, T., Hewlett, B., Hurtado, A., Marlowe, F., Wiessner, P., & Wood, B. (2011) Co-Residence Patterns in Hunter-Gatherer Societies Show Unique Human Social Structure. Science, 331(6022), 1286-1289. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199071  

  • March 28, 2011
  • 08:49 AM

Income and IQ

by Jason Collins in Evolving Economics

As I noted in my recent post on Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, Gladwell ignored the possibility that traits with a genetic component other than IQ might play a role in determining success. His approach reminded me of a useful paper by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis from 2002 on the inheritance of inequality. Bowles and Gintis [...]... Read more »

Bowles, S., & Gintis, H. (2002) The Inheritance of Inequality. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(3), 3-30. DOI: 10.1257/089533002760278686  

  • March 28, 2011
  • 07:01 AM

I know what you did next summer

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Wouldn’t it be handy to be able to predict the future behavior of others?  Not to mention kind of disturbing?  Like in the 2002 film Minority Report. There are times we have to try—like in assessing future dangerousness for those eligible for parole.  And, in those cases, when we are wrong, bad bad things can happen. [...]

Related posts:Predicting case outcomes? Lawyers are pretty dismal at it!
Faulty Logic: Cannabis, psychosis and fish oil
Maybe it really is better to apologize than t........ Read more »

  • March 26, 2011
  • 05:54 AM

Making Up Gay Youth Suicides as We Go Along

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Does research evidence have to be factual or does creative truth bending provide a necessary contrast? Waidzunas (2011) seems to stay silent on this but does deftly show how a big claim, poorly supported, can become canon law and effectively 'black boxed' from scrutiny, forever. Well, at least until now, perhaps.... Read more »

Waidzunas, T. (2011) Young, Gay, and Suicidal: Dynamic Nominalism and the Process of Defining a Social Problem with Statistics. Science, Technology . info:/

  • March 25, 2011
  • 12:00 PM

Who Says "I Love You" First in Relationships

by Samantha Joel in The Science of Relationships

Describes research on communicating love in relationships.... Read more »

Ackerman, J., Griskevicius, V., & Li, N. (2011) Let's get serious: Communicating commitment in romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/a0022412  

  • March 25, 2011
  • 08:41 AM

Evolution and irrationality

by Jason Collins in Evolving Economics

In a favourite example of the behavioural economists, research participants are offered the choice between one bottle of wine a month from now and two bottles of wine one month and one day from now (alternatively, substitute cake, money or some other pay-off for wine). Most people will choose the two bottles of wine. However, [...]... Read more »

Sozou, P. (1998) On hyperbolic discounting and uncertain hazard rates. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 265(1409), 2015-2020. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1998.0534  

  • March 24, 2011
  • 12:32 PM

Paying for proximity: The value of houses near train stations

by Tim De Chant in Per Square Mile

“You can’t get there from here” are words people seldom like to hear. Nor do they like being stuck in traffic jams. Or walking miles to get home from a train station or bus stop. People will pay good money for a house that can offer them an easy way to get to point B, [...]... Read more »

Davis, F.W. (1970) Proximity to a rapid transit station as a factor in residential property values. The Appraisal Journal, 554-572. info:/

Gibbons, S., & Machin, S. (2005) Valuing rail access using transport innovations. Journal of Urban Economics, 57(1), 148-169. DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2004.10.002  

  • March 24, 2011
  • 03:58 AM

The climate–demography vulnerability index of my mother-in-law

by Jeremy in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Another dispatch from the outer reaches of GISland. Yesterday’s post on the likely consequences of climate change around my mother-in-law’s farm in Kenya got me thinking that it would be nice to see where that locality fits in the global vulnerability scene. One can actually do that thanks to a recent paper in Global Ecology [...]... Read more »

  • March 23, 2011
  • 07:01 PM

Are supply and demand elasticity a risk?

by Jan Husdal in

This paper describes the performance of supply chains based on their elasticities of supply and demand. The model can be used to predict a supply chain’s ability to respond to supply interruptions, cost increases, and demand shifts, while also quantifying the degree to which it is prone to the bullwhip effect. The paper identifies four types of supply chains and examines their distinct operating characters, in particular the impact of rival firms and the impact of a decoupling point on supply........ Read more »

HULL, B. (2005) The role of elasticity in supply chain performance. International Journal of Production Economics, 98(3), 301-314. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpe.2004.09.013  

  • March 23, 2011
  • 06:36 PM

Experts Witnesses: When Criticized, Don't Just Respond, Riposte!

by Persuasion Strategies in Persuasive Litigator

In fencing, a "riposte" is the act of turning away an attack (a parry) and converting it into a strike back at your opponent. In common conversation, a riposte means answering an attack or an insult with a witty reply. In either case, it is a good come back that converts defense to offense, and that is what expert witnesses need to be looking for when their credentials, methods, or conclusions are being criticized as part of litigation. It may sound obvious to "have a good response," but rece........ Read more »

Foster, E.L. (2010) Anchoring and the Expert Witness Testimony Do Countervailing Forces Offset Anchoring Effects of Expert Witness Testimony. Tennessee Law Review. info:/

  • March 23, 2011
  • 12:56 PM

by Geraint Johnes in Geraint Johnes Weblog

The revisions made to the Office for Budgetary Responsibility's growth projections, released to coincide with today's Budget Statement, are in a downward direction, with 2011 growth now anticipated to be 1.7%. This still looks a touch optimistic.The Chancellor of the Exchequer described his Budget as a Budget to fuel growth, but beneath the hype there does not appear to be much fuel in the tank. To some extent this is unsurprising as the Chancellor has already used the Comprehensive Spending Rev........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2011
  • 09:05 AM

In which several evolutionary psychologists still don't understand evolution

by Jeremy Yoder in Denim and Tweed

Jesse Bering has responded to criticism—by me, Jon Wilkins, and P.Z. Meyers, among others—of his post about Gordon Gallup's hypothesis that fear of homosexuals is favored by natural selection, in the form of an interview with Gallup. The result is informative, but probably not in the way intended.

To recap: Gallup proposed that homophobia could be adaptive if it prevented gay and lesbian adults from contacting a homophobic parent's children and—either through actual sexual abuse or some ........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2011
  • 07:01 AM

Can you see me now? Different races & familiar places

by Rita Handrich in The Jury Room

Most of us know that eye-witnesses are simply notoriously inaccurate but there is some new work out there you should know about. First up, new information on cross-racial identification and then some intriguing information about familiar places and counter-intuitive errors. Cross-racial identification: There’s a large body of research on the inaccuracy of cross-racial identification.  Recently [...]

Related posts:BE MORE LIKE ME!
Okay, wait! Which one of you was I listening to?
It may not (........ Read more »

  • March 23, 2011
  • 03:00 AM

Do the benefits of nuclear power outweigh the risks?: A time for Japan to review its policies?

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

The Challenge of Climate Change and Energy Policies for Building a Sustainable Society in Japan From Organization & Environment  In response to last week’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the role and safety risks of nuclear power are being reassessed globally. The 1990s witnessed an unprecedented recognition that environmental problems were occurring at a global [...]... Read more »

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